Press Release: War on ‘dirty diesels’ sees surge in UK diesel owners selling their cars online

10th May 2017 | By Alex Buttle

Disel car selling

  • More than half (56%) of all enquires on car buying website Motorway.co.uk in April were drivers looking to sell a diesel car (even though only 47.7% of cars on the road are diesels)
  • New survey results reveal 18.9% of diesel car owners are looking to sell soon vs 16.1% of petrol car owners
  • A predicted 15% drop in the value of a second-hand diesel by the end of 2017 could wipe more than £17bn off the net worth of diesel car owners

Thousands of diesel car owners are already looking to offload their vehicles after a “triple whammy of bad news”, to buy newer, cleaner alternatives before the value of their cars plummet, according to figures from car buying website Motorway.co.uk.

Motorway enables customers to get a free valuation on their car, and then sell it within 24 hours if they choose to do so. Based on thousands of online valuations made in April, more than half (56%) of enquiries were from UK diesel car owners, even though only 47.7% of cars on UK roads are diesels [1].

The share of diesel vehicle enquiries through the website has increased consistently month-on-month since the start of 2017, growing by 1% a month on average.

Amongst diesel owners based in London, enquiry levels were even higher. The Capital’s diesel drivers are clearly questioning their car ownership choices, with 58% of all of Motorway’s valuation enquiries in London last month being diesels.

This surge in enquiries from diesel sellers follows Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom’s impending announcement to target diesel owners – including a diesel car scrappage scheme and ‘toxin tax’. London Mayor Sadiq Khan stated he will bring forward the introduction of an ultra-low emission zone to April 2019, and increased congestion charges on high-polluting cars.

A survey of 750 car owners across the UK carried out by Motorway also revealed that 18.9% of diesel owners said they will be looking to sell their car over the next 12 months. The survey found just 16.1% of petrol car owners looking to sell in the same period.

 Used diesel car price fall

The anticipated glut of diesel cars to hit the used car market, combined with falling buyer demand makes a significant price drop likely within the next 12 months.

Motorway believes a fall in the average price of used diesel cars of 10 to 15% versus their current deprecation rate, over the next 12 months, is entirely likely. With around 17 million diesel cars on the road[2], and the average value of a used diesel car at around £7,000, a 15% drop in value would see more than £17 billion wiped off the combined net worth of current UK diesel car owners.

Alex Buttle, Director of Motorway.co.uk, comments: “Diesel car owners have been hit with a triple whammy of bad news. The proposed UK-wide toxin tax, the early introduction of a London ultra-low emission zone and the probability that the Government will implement a diesel scrappage scheme, has left diesel car owners questioning their choice of ownership.

“We have not seen a major fall in diesel car valuations on our website just yet, but the surge we have seen in diesel selling suggests the market will quickly become saturated. Coupled with falling demand for ‘dirty diesels’, this means a price drop is inevitable. This has already happened in Germany, where similar diesel regulations led to a 19% drop in the average price of diesel cars this year[3].”

“As car buyers opt for cleaner, ‘punishment-free’ fuel options, we believe there will be an increase in the share of petrol, hybrid and electric vehicle sales in the months ahead.”

Notes to editors

For further information please contact:
Jonny Stevens, PR on 07977 119 579
Alex Buttle, Director of Motorway.co.uk on 07968 841 352 or alex@motorway.co.uk

Data sources

Data from Motorway.co.uk includes over 44,000 individual car selling enquiries through its website between January 2017 and April 2017.

Survey data was commissioned by Motorway.co.uk and conducted by Qriously in a UK-wide online survey of 750 car owners from May 2nd to May 5th 2017

[1] SMMT, 2017 – link

[2] DVLA, 2017 – link

[3] Reuters – German diesel car sales drop 19 pct – link